Follow our easy step-by-step directions on how to freeze spinach for smoothies. Freezing spinach is the best way to keep this nutritious leafy vegetable on hand at all times without worrying it may go bad.
By the way, I have not noticed any difference in taste between fresh and frozen spinach in smoothies. If you are using frozen spinach in smoothies, consider reducing other frozen fruits and ice to avoid making it too thick.
Why you should freeze spinach for smoothies
Once opened, the spinach goes bad very quickly. Within 2 days the leaves will not be as fresh and may start getting slimy. Recently, I started freezing fresh spinach to avoid food waste.
Because I already know that tomorrow the leaves might start going bad and more likely I will forget to use them all up.
Similar to frozen fresh papaya, I like to use frozen spinach to make delicious smoothies for the whole family. It blends well with the sweet fruits and you cannot even taste it.
You can also use frozen spinach to make soups, eggs, and other recipes that require cooked spinach.
Ways to use frozen spinach
The best part, you do not even need to thaw it beforehand. Toss it into a blender with the rest of the ingredients or add it directly to the simmering soup or sauce.
Frozen spinach is not good to use in salads, sandwiches, or for garnishing meals.
What you will need
You will need only a few ingredients and some simple kitchen equipment.
Fresh spinach: you can use baby spinach leaves or regular spinach leaves. Make sure they are fresh and do not show signs of being soiled.
Liquid: you will need liquid if you are making spinach frozen cubes. I like to use water, in case I will need to use it for soups or other recipes. You can also use coconut or almond milk.
Salad spinner: even if the packaging states the spinach has been washed, I still wash it one more time as sometimes there might be still dirt or even insects. If you do not have a salad spinner, use a large bowl.
Blender: if you are making the cubes, you will need the blender to puree the leaves.
Ice cube trays: they are the best to freeze blended spinach. Make sure to use BPA-free containers.
Freezer bags: If you plan to freeze whole leaves, you will need some freezer-safe bags or containers.
Drinking straw: it is optional, but great for removing the access air from the bag before freezing.
Below, you can find step-by-step directions on how to freeze spinach using two methods. Both methods are great, but I find ice cubes are more convenient for smoothies and easier to store in the freezer.
Method 1 (blended, in ice cubes)
Add the spinach to the salad spinner bowl and feel it with cold water. Swirl them around with your hands to remove any dirt.
Lift the colander basket and dump the water. You can repeat the process couple of more times if using the spinach from the garden.
Packaged one is usually pre-washed, but I still rinse it at least one time. Place the basket back into the salad spinner, close the lid, and spin it to dry.
If you do not have a spinner, use a large bowl to wash the leaves.
In a blender container, add washed spinach leaves and about ½ cup of water.
Blend it on high until the leaves are pureed. You may need to add more water.
Pour pureed spinach into the ice cubes. Make sure to leave some space and not overfill it.
Place the ice tray in the freezer and let it freeze for about 3 hours or until solid. Now, you can remove the frozen spinach cubes and place them in a zip-lock bag. I usually use a permanent marker to place a date on the bag.
Method 2 (whole spinach leaves, bagged)
Use a salad spinner or a large bowl to wash the spinach leaves. Dry it in the spinner and then lay the leaves to air dry on paper towels if you freeze them whole leaves.
Place the whole leaves in freezer-safe bags or containers. I usually portion it, using smaller bags.
You can use a drinking straw to suck out as much air as possible from the bags.
Mark each bag with the date you freeze it. Place the bag in the freezer until ready to use.
Tip for freezing spinach in smoothies
- You can freeze the leaves whole or blended with water in ice cubes.
- Freeze only fresh, crisp, and bright leaves. Freeze it right after purchasing or harvesting.
- If freezing the spinach leaves whole (without blending), make sure to dry the leaves well if you wash them.
- Label the bag or a container with the date and use it within 6 month for better taste.
Tip for using frozen spinach in smoothies
- Let the frozen spinach sit for a bit before blending. It will make your smoothie smoother.
- Add more liquid (milk, yogurt, or juice) if you want a thinner smoothie.
- Try different smoothie ingredient combinations until you get the taste you like. I recommend checking my popular my papaya and spinach smoothie.
- If your smoothie gets too thick with frozen spinach, use less frozen ingredients like fruits or ice.
- It is better to blend spinach with sweet ingredients like banana, mango, or honey to balance its earthy taste.
How long you can store spinach in the freezer
Frozen spinach can last in the freezer for between 6-12 months if stored properly. For the best quality, use it within 6 months. It is also safe to refreeze the leftover smoothie made with frozen spinach again.
To avoid a freezer burn, make sure to remove as much air as possible from the freezer bags and do not keep it near the freezer door to avoid exposure to warm air.
Frequently asked questions
It is easy to tell if the spinach is not good anymore by looking at and smelling it. Bad spinach has wilted, slimy leaves and it smells rather sour. If you are unsure if your spinach is still good, it is better to discard it.
It is not recommended as the quality might be not the same, but you can safely refreeze thawed spinach if it has been stored in the fridge for no longer than 2 days.
Although blanching the spinach can preserve its bright green color, it is not necessary to blanch spinach before freezing.
How to Freeze Spinach For Smoothies
- 1 Blender
- 1 ice cube tray
- 3 freezer safe food storage bags
- 1 drinking straw, for vacuum seal
Ice cubes method
- 4 cups fresh spinach leaves, washed and dried
- ½-1 cup water or almond milk
Whole leaves method
- 4 cups fresh spinach leaves, washed and dried well
Ice cubes method
- Add spinach and water to the blender. Blend on high until the leaves are pureed. You can add more water if needed.
- Pour the pureed spinach into the ice cube tray and freeze for about 3 hours or overnight.
Whole leaves method
- Place washed and dried whole spinach leaves into the freezer safe food bags. Seal it leaving a small opening. Insert the straw into the small opening and suck out as much air as possible, creating a vacuum seal.
- Mark the bags with the date and freeze until ready to use.
- I like to blend the spinach with water, in case I will be adding it to soups or other savory recipes.
- You do not need to blanch spinach before freezing, but blanching can preserve bright color.
- No need to thaw frozen spinach, simply add few cubes to the blender with the rest of smoothie ingredients.